Before I scare anyone who has not had this procedure, let me reassure you that my doctor said I was NOT a normal case and most people do much better than me ;) But I just thought I'd complain a bit here since most of you would be able to relate!
So I really wasn't *that* nervous going into the procedure, I figured the worst part would be the gagging since I have a strong gag reflex -- well, I was wrong, that was not the worst part ;) Normally, the nurses insert the probe into your nose and down your esophagus, then the doctor comes in just to do the swallow tests. Well, apparently I have deformed sinuses or something because they couldn't even get the probe in the first nostril they tried, it got stuck somewhere in my sinuses! (I do get a lot of allergy-induced sinus headaches, so I think the next time I see my doctor I'll ask if he wants to x-ray my sinuses or something! Maybe I have a deviated septum or a blockage?) After poking and prodding for a while they gave up and tried the other nostril. This didn't work so well either, so they had to call the doctor in who was finally able to insert the probe. Now I've never done well with pain, needles, etc. so all the poking around in my sinuses (which I'll admit was painful) first made me light-headed, then my hands and feet felt tingly and were trembling for basically the entire procedure! The nurses said my hands were freezing and they looked purple, but I couldn't tell they were cold! I tried to relax and think about other things but I couldn't stop trembling -- even my doctor made a comment about my body "protecting itself" very well! My nose was also bleeding (but it's been bleeding easily in this dry winter air) and I was swallowing blood... overall it was NOT a pleasant experience! :(
As for the gagging, that wasn't bad -- I only gagged when the end of the tube went past the back of my throat (and again when they removed it) -- once the tube was down into the esophagus, I could feel it my throat but it didn't make me want to gag. For some reason, what really grossed me out (more of a mental thing than anything physical) was when they looked in my mouth to see the tube in my throat -- yes, I know the tube was there, but it grossed me out to think that they could see it! lol
Once they finally had the tube in place, the doctor actually did two rounds of swallowing tests. Then he said he was not liking the readings he was getting, and that either the probe was not inserted correctly or I have pretty bad motility :( He said sometimes the tube can get folded up inside your esophagus, but they did every trick they knew of to straighten it out, including inserting a length of tube much longer than my esophagus so it would go into my stomach then straighten out when they pulled it back up! (I didn't even feel this though -- I only felt the tube in my sinuses and throat.) So then I had to sit with the tube in place for 10 minutes while they brought in a portable x-ray machine to check the tube was inserted correctly. The doctor said it was in the right place so I guess that means I have poor motility -- I didn't get a chance to talk to him after the procedure but I'll talk more at my follow-up in two weeks.
So I think they said the procedure normally takes 15 minutes or so. By the time it was all done, I'm pretty sure it took me at least 45 if not 60 minutes of trying to insert the tube and then the swallowing tests and x-ray :(
But after the test, once I had a few minutes to calm down and stop trembling, I felt fine -- slightly sore sinuses and throat but I've had colds that felt worse!
So if I do have such bad motility, what are my options? From my limited understanding you need good motility to have any surgeries, so will I be stuck with diet changes and/or meds forever? (Obviously I'll ask my doctor about this but I'm just curious to hear from other people!)
Interestingly, I never took my Nexium yesterday (due to fasting for the test) and I didn't have any more acid reflux than normal. I was also pleased to find I didn't feel sick to my stomach after swallowing blood! Makes me wonder if my diet changes are doing more than the meds to help with my symptoms? Or can some people skip a day of Nexium without relapsing?
Diagnoses: GERD, small hiatal hernia, allergies (haven't been tested yet)
Medications: Nexium (GERD), Singulair (allergies), Tazorac (acne)
Note: I suspect my GERD was caused by taking antibiotics for acne. Please be careful about taking antibiotics when not necessary!